A Brief Introduction

A Brief Introduction

Our current built environment which was once meant for people and worked to integrate with nature doesn’t seem to be designed for people or nature anymore.  Since the advent of the assembly line and the mass production of the automobile in 1913 the built environment in the United States has changed.  These changes did not happen all at once; they have occurred over time in a subtle fashion.  These changes have caused a shift in development practices that have moved away from people and nature.

Defending New Urbanism and Form-Based Code

Defending New Urbanism and Form-Based Code

New Urbanism is a movement dedicated to the advancement of specific principles that serve to ensure that we build places which make our society stronger, protect our environment, and make economic sense.  As outlined in the Charter of the New Urbanism its goals (in part) are in developing communities with mixed housing types, mixed use, appropriate allocation of density, interconnected streets making the community more walkable, and an identifiable center and edge.  New Urbanism wants to put “unity” back into community. 

Learning from Daybreak: Lessons for the Wasatch Front

Learning from Daybreak: Lessons for the Wasatch Front

Anyone that visits Daybreak will quickly and easily recognize that it is different from the more common suburban neighborhoods that are the status quo along the Wasatch Front.  I also know that not everyone is interested or would be comfortable living in Daybreak.  For me, Daybreak works extremely well because it provides all of the things that a suburban neighborhood is unable to provide.

Accessory Units: A Community’s Opportunity for Hidden Density

Accessory Units: A Community’s Opportunity for Hidden Density

Accessory units are the most effective way of providing density within a neighborhood while simultaneously providing the lightest impact to the neighborhood.  It allows the property owner to be selective of the occupant because they are sharing space and utilities.  It allows for the property owner to subsidize their own mortgage with the rent from the accessory unit. 

The Convergence of Mormon Community Building and New Urbanism

The Convergence of Mormon Community Building and New Urbanism

The opportunity for Salt Lake City to host CNU 21 opened up some extremely unique opportunities to hold discussions combining the topics of faith and community because the city itself served to justify as a back drop for the combination.  Introductions have now been made between Salt Lake City, the LDS Church, and new urbanism.  The question is now, what will each do with the newly formed relationship?  The opportunities for doing good are tremendous only IF each recognizes the benefits that can be shared by their newly found “friend.”

Development Patterns Comparison (CSD -vs- TND)

Item Conventional Suburban Development (CSD) Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND)
Example CSD TND
Compact, Walkable Neighborhoods
  • Isolated “pods”, which are dedicated to single uses
  • Sprawl and “leapfrog” developments, limited by range of automobile
  •  Compact development
  • Most daily life needs are within a five (5) minute walking distance from center
Transportation Choices
  •  Uses are inaccessible from each other, except by car
  • Reduces automobile dependency
  • Design is equitable for pedestrians, bikes, mass transit AND automobiles
Interconnected Streets
  • High Proportion of cul-de-sacs and looping streets within each pod (curvilinear)
  • Few automobile route options designed around a hierarchy of smaller roads funneling traffic into larger roads
  • Produces bottlenecks due to a lack of route connectivity between destination points
  • Streets are wide and dedicated primarily to the automobile
  • Grid network with small block patterns (rectilinear)
  • Provides multiple routes to and through and to any given point
  • Increases travel path options
  • Accommodates blocking of one of the routes due to accident
  • Streets are narrower, giving important consideration to the pedestrian while accommodating the automobile
Pedestrian-Friendly Streets
  • Buildings are rotated on their lots and greatly setback from the street making it difficult to create a sense of place
  • Parking lots dominate public spaces
  • Promotes walkability and human-scale design
  • Traffic calming devices to reduce vehicular speed
  • Planting buffers provide shelter and shade
  • Minimizes number of driveway crossings
  • Streets are spatially defined by a wall of buildings that front the sidewalk and are uninterrupted by parking lots
Housing Diversity
  • Housing is strictly segregated
  • Housing is predominantly single family detached
  • Low density
  • Housing is better integrated
  • Multiple housing types and products (size, price & type)
  • Residents may move through the housing preferences life cycle without leaving the community
  • Greater density
Mixed-Use
  • Regulates use and assumes that all uses are incompatible, thus separating them
  • Civic buildings are designed as an afterthought
  • Open space is provided by buffers or berms and act as residual spaces
  • Eclectic mix of uses within a short distance from each other
  • Focuses on regulating form, design and proximity of uses
  • Buildings are diverse in function, but compatible in size and disposition
  • Civic buildings are treated as landmarks and are placed on squares or the termination of street vistas
  • Open space is provided by squares, playgrounds, parks and greenbelts.